HICK­MAN WIN SIL­VER­STONE

Kawasaki team has a mixed week­end but comes good in the end with a win and a fifth in race two

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - By Stephen Dav­i­son MCN CON­TRIB­U­TOR AT SIL­VER­STONE

The Sil­ver­stone MCE BSB round was a real bap­tism of fire for the JG Speed­fit Kawasaki squad with Peter Hick­man, Leon Haslam and James El­li­son ex­pe­ri­enc­ing al­most ev­ery high and low that rac­ing can of­fer.

Ev­ery­thing came good in the end with Peter Hick­man’s su­perb sec­ond race win but that high point had been pref­aced by a pole po­si­tion for Haslam dur­ing qual­i­fy­ing, a crash that saw El­li­son start the first race from the back of the grid and two DNFS be­cause of en­gine fail­ures in race one. Lit­tle won­der then that team boss Mark SmithHalvorsen was in tears as Hick­man cel­e­brated in the win­ner’s en­clo­sure.

“The team has worked in­cred­i­bly hard with this new bike and then there was so much dis­ap­point­ment in the first race,” he ex­plained. “Then for Peter, who has been fly­ing along be­neath the radar, to get his first win with us, I was choked.”

The JG Speed­fit me­chan­ics worked flat out to re­place the en­gines on Haslam and Hick­man’s ZX-10RS be­tween races. All of that work was worth the ef­fort when Hick­man tri­umphed and Haslam fin­ished fifth.

“The en­gine prob­lem was un­for­tu­nate be­cause I gen­uinely thought I would have won the first race,” ex­plained Hick­man.

Through­out the sec­ond en­counter Hick­man led a high-speed snake that in­cluded Shakey Byrne on the Be Wiser Du­cati, Tyco BMW’S Chris­tian Id­don, Ja­son O’hal­lo­ran on the Honda, and his team-mate be­fore thwart­ing a fierce on­slaught from Byrne in the fi­nal cor­ners to take only his sec­ond BSB win in a decade of rac­ing.

“I knew they were there be­cause I had a look at the big TV screen at Brook­lands and saw five of us in a line and thought ... jeez great!” he joked.

“That was the last thing I wanted to see and I de­lib­er­ately de­fended a bit on the fi­nal lap as I knew Shakey was close be­cause the Du­cati is so loud. I braked too late at Brook­lands and al­most fluffed it but I just thought there is no way I have done all this work with­out win­ning and got on the gas.”

Through­out pre-sea­son test­ing Hick­man has strug­gled with a se­ri­ous chat­ter prob­lem and the team made a big change to the new ZX-10R for Sil­ver­stone.

“We changed the ge­om­e­try, link­age, shock and forks on Fri­day morn­ing and it has made the bike hard to ride,” Hick­man ex­plained. “It can be quite ag­gres­sive and snap back at you and it is very dif­fer­ent from how I have been test­ing the bike, but it works. We took a bit of a gam­ble but it paid off to­day.”

The team are us­ing Showa sus­pen­sion for 2016 and adapt­ing to the new sys­tem has also brought its frus­tra­tions.

“It is all re­ally new and very dif­fer­ent to what we are used to,” Hick­man ex­plained. “Leon is the only per­son who has rid­den with it be­fore so he has a step up on James and me. We aren’t against it but it has taken us longer than we would’ve wanted to un­der­stand it. When we aren’t get­ting to where we want to be we are re­ally frus­trated and that some­times comes out in things we shouldn’t say. But I’ve just won the race so why would I want to change?”

A win from Hick­man and podi­ums from Id­don sug­gest BSB 2016 is go­ing to be wide open A smoother Honda is a faster Honda for Lin­foot (4) and O’hal­lo­ran

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